One thing you can always count on with the Cleveland Cavaliers is that if J.R. Smith has something on his mind, he’s going to say it. Following Wednesday’s blowout win over the Celtics, Smith says the Cavaliers should prepare for dirty play from Boston.
Smith expressed his concern to Fox Sports Ohio:
For them to come out swinging, playing scrappy like they do. They’ve been playing like that all year. Whenever their backs up against the wall, they tend to play better, just like we do. So, we just got to expect that and understand there might be dirty plays, might be cheap shots or whatever coming from the other side, just because they’re fighting for their lives at this point. So, we just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing
You can view the full interview here:
The stance Smith is taking is probably fair. The Celtics have a history of dirty plays and Game 1 was no exception. Kelly Olynyk was up to his old tricks by pulling on Tristan Thompson’s arm, Isaiah Thomas held Kevin Love’s ankle while on the ground and launched himself at a driving LeBron James, which undercut and injured him on the play.
It’s unfortunate that the threat of extracurricular actives will loom over the rest of this series. Bad blood and rivalries is fun, but when there’s an intent to injure it takes away from the game.
The Cavaliers are now in the drivers seat for this series, after taking homecourt advantage away from the Celtics in Game 1. It’s probably fair to assume that Boston will do everything in their power to avoid heading to Cleveland down 0-2, given how well the Cavs have played at home.
If things devolve quickly, I’d expect Tyronn Lue to give Dahntay Jones some minutes to help keep things in line. But hopefully cooler heads will prevail and game 2 game remain a basketball game, rather than a bar fight.